21st October 2021.
The town of Weston super Mare, Somerset, is shocked by the brutal murder of Veronica Lloyd, an elderly volunteer at a local church.
This is DI Louise Blackwell’s first murder investigation since her forced transfer from the Major Investigation Team in Bristol. She shot a killer, but was not supported by her colleague, Tim Finch, leaving a burning sense of injustice inside her.
After a priest is killed in a similar manner to the first victim, it looks like there’s a serial killer on a mission.
The story alternates between the killer and the police. The events that drove the killer to commit murder are revealed, little by little, as the story progresses. Meanwhile, the police investigation struggles on without tangible progress. The threat of the Murder Investigation Team taking over drives Blackwell on, desperate to connect the dots before Finch takes over.
It’s an interesting story that explores the power of religion and how its messages can become corrupted. The killer’s past is portrayed sympathetically, to reveal the injustice he feels, but without overshadowing the brutality of his crimes. DI Louise Blackwell has a chip on her shoulder that affects her judgement, especially towards the climax. She doubts her abilities, her judgement and her behaviour as she struggles with the investigation, revealing the human side of police work.
While it took me a while to get into the story, it grew on me as the book progressed towards a race against time climax.
In a small town full of secrets, everyone’s a suspect.
When a body is discovered, bled dry on a beach, the sleepy seaside town of Weston-super-Mare wakes up to a nightmare. For Detective Inspector Louise Blackwell, recently transferred to the town she last saw as a child, it’s her first case on the job.
The victim—Veronica Lloyd, an elderly volunteer at a local church—has puncture wounds to her hands. When a priest is found killed in a nearby church in a similarly grisly condition, it becomes clear that Blackwell is dealing with a righteous and bloody murderer. But the victims aren’t random. The killer has a vendetta and is hell-bent on exacting twisted revenge for a dark secret dating back years—and there are more murders planned.
As the body count rises, Blackwell faces a race against time to solve the mystery of the murderer’s identity and put an end to the carnage. She thought she knew Weston, but the town holds more secrets than she’d ever have imagined. Who can she trust and who knows more than they are letting on?
She must discover the crimes that unite the victims—before it’s too late.